A gigantic asteroid will fly close to Earth this Halloween

A gigantic asteroid will fly close to Earth this Halloween

Prepare to be scared this Halloween! A gigantic asteroid will fly by Earth only slight closer than the moon’s orbit. It is approximately 1,542 feet in diameter and traveling at 78,000 miles per hour- ‘unusually fast’ according to NASA.

Prepare to be scared this Halloween! A gigantic asteroid will fly by Earth only slight closer than the moon’s orbit. It is approximately 1,542 feet in diameter and traveling at 78,000 miles per hour- ‘unusually fast’ according to NASA.

NASA has described the asteroid as not only fast but also as having an ‘extremely eccentric orbit’.

“The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles — 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it.”

Although the asteroid may seem huge, it will not have enough gravitation clout to effect the Moon or Earth in any way. If it were larger, there would be the risk that it could alter the oceans’ tides or possibly even shift the tectonic plates.

The asteroid was discovered less than two weeks ago by the astronomers working with the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) telescope in Hawaii. It is believed to be a piece broken off from a comet.

The Deep Space Network of Goldstone, California hopes to not only track the asteroid as it passes by earth but to also obtain pictures of its surface using advanced radar technology. As the giant rock flies past, scientists will hit it with radio waves, which will then bounce back to be received by the 110-foot Goldstone antenna. NASA scientists will then interpret the data to construct an image of the asteroid’s surface features.

“The close approach of 2015 TB145 at about 1.3 times the distance of the moon’s orbit, coupled with its size, suggests it will be one of the best asteroids for radar imaging we’ll see for several years,” said Lance Benner, of JPL, who leads NASA’s asteroid radar research program. “We plan to test a new capability to obtain radar images with two-meter resolution for the first time and hope to see unprecedented levels of detail.”

Expect asteroid 2015 TB145 to pass by Earth on October 31 at 13:05 EST.

By the way, 78,000 miles per hour is approximately equivalent to 1300 miles per minute or 22 miles per second.

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